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Adown my beard the slavers trickle !
To see me loup;
Were in their doup.
O' a'the num'rous human dools,
Sad sight to see!
Thou bear’st the gree.
Where'er that place be priests ca’ hell,
In dreadfu' raw,
Amang them a'!
In gore a shoe-thick ;-
A towmont's Toothach !
WRITTEN WITH A PENCIL
OVER THE CHIMNEY-PIECE IN THE PARLOUR OF
THE INN AT KENMORE, TAYMOUTH.
DMIRING Nature in her wildest grace,
These northern scenes with weary feet
O'er many a winding dale and painful
steep, Th' abodes of covey'd grouse and timid sheep, My savage journey, curious, I pursue, Till fam’d Breadalbane opens on my view.The meeting cliffs each deep-sunk glen divides, The woods, wild scattered, clothe their ample sides ; Th' outstretching lake, embosom'd 'mong the hills, The eye
with wonder1 and amazement fills ; The Tay meand'ring sweet in infant pride, The palace rising on his verdant side; The lawns wood-fringed in Nature's native taste; The hillocks dropt in Nature's careless haste; The arches striding o'er the new-born stream ; The village, glittering in the noontide beam
VAR. ' pleasure.
? In a copy supposed to be in Burns' hand-writing these lines stand thus:
The Tay meand'ring sweet in infant pride,
Poetic ardours in my bosom swell,
Here Poesy might wake her heav'n-taught lyre,
And injur'd Worth forget and pardon man.
THE BIRTH OF A POSTHUMOUS CHILD,
BORN IN PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF
WEET flow'ret, pledge o' meikle love,
And ward o'mony a prayer,
Sae helpless, sweet, and fair.
These verses were written on the birth of a posthumous child of Mrs. Henri, the widow of a French gentleman, and a daughter of the poet's friend, Mrs. Dunlop. In a letter to that lady, dated in November, 1790, in reply to one informing him of her daughter's confinement, Burns says,
November hirples o'er the lea,
Chill, on thy lovely form ;
gane, alas ! the shelt'ring tree,
cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.' Fate has long owed me a letter of good news from you, in return for the many tidings of sorrow which I have received. In this instance I most cordially obey the Apostle -Rejoice with them that do rejoice'—for me to sing for joy is no new thing; but to preach for joy, as I have done in the commencement of this epistle, is a pitch of extravagant rapture to which I never rose before. I read your letter-I literally jumped for joy–How could such a mercurial creature as a poet lumpishly keep his seat on the receipt of the best news from his best friend? I seized my gilt-headed Wangee rod, an instrument indispensably necessary, my left hand, in the moment of inspiration and rapture; and stride, stride-quick and quicker-out skipped I among the broomy banks of Nith, to muse over my joy by retail. To keep within the bounds of prose was impossible. Mrs. Little's is a more elegant, but not a more sincere compliment to the sweet little fellow than I, extempore almost, poured out to him, in the following verses."
The "little Floweret” and its mother are often mentioned in Burns' letters to Mrs. Dunlop. On the 7th February, 1791, he says, “I am truly happy to hear that the 'little Floweret ’ is blooming so fresh and fair, and that the mother plant' is rather recovering her drooping head. Soon and well may her 'cruel wounds' be healed !”-In April following, he begs that she will let him “ hear by first post how cher petit Monsieur comes on with his small-pox. May Almighty Goodness preserve and restore him!” – On the 17th of December, in the same year, he says, “ Many thanks to you, madam, for your good news respecting the little floweret' and the 'mother plant.' I hope my poetic prayers have been heard, and will be answered up to the warmest sincerity of their fullest extent; and then Mrs. Henri will find her little darling the representative of his late parent in every thing but his abridged existence.”
In the Autumn of 1792, Mrs. Henri and her infant went to the south of France, where she soon afterwards died. Burns thus feelingly adverted to her departure and death, in
May He who gives the rain to pour,
And wings the blast to blaw, Protect thee frae the driving show'r,
The bitter frost and snaw.
May He, the Friend of woe and want,
Who heals life's various stounds, Protect and guard the mother plant,
And heal her cruel wounds.
a letter to Mrs. Dunlop, dated Dumfries, 24th Sept. 1792. “ I have this moment, my dear madam, yours of the twentythird. All your other kind reproaches, your news, &c. are out of my head when I read and think on Mrs. H- 's situation. Good God! a heart-wounded helpless young woman-in a strange, foreign land, and that land convulsed with every horror that can harrow the human feelingssick-looking, longing for a comforter, but finding nonea mother's feelings, too—but it is too much: He who wounded (He only can) may He heal! I had been from home, and did not receive your letter until my return the other day. What shall I say to comfort you, my much valued, much afflicted friend ? I can but grieve with you; consolation I have none to offer, except that which religion holds out to the children of affliction-children of affliction !-how just the expression! and like every other family, they have matters among them which they hear, see, and feel in a serious, all-important manner, of which the world has not, nor cares to have any idea. The world looks indifferently on, makes the passing remark, and proceeds to the next novel occurrence. Alas, madam! who would wish for many years? What is it but to drag existence until our joys gradually expire, and leave us a night of misery ; like the gloom which bolts out the stars one by one from the face of night, and leaves us without a ray of comfort, in the howling waste!” The fate of the “ little Floweret” has not been ascertained. Allan Cunningham merely observes on these touching verses, that “a father was carried to his grave on the day his only daughter was born,-a type of what happened at no distant date in the Poet's own household.” It is evident, however, from the above extracts that the child addressed by Burns was a son.